After several lengthy months, the return of baseball is upon us. July 23 will bring the first regular-season MLB matchup since September. The Washington Nationals will kick us off against the New York Yankees in an empty Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
Nearly empty, that is. There will be one fan showing up to start the festivities: one Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been selected as the man to throw the first pitch of the 2020 MLB season.
Fauci is a big Nationals fan (as can be seen by his sweet team mask in the cover photo of this story) and is probably quite excited about this opportunity.
It is, in a way, strange to honor Fauci by having him launch an endeavor that he himself would probably classify as quite risky. MLB will be the first sports organization to attempt to put on a season without the benefit of a bubble environment to keep players and staff at minimum risk. It could work out and fans can enjoy the season from the comfort of their homes without worrying about their favorite players catching and/or spreading coronavirus. It could also fall apart in a disastrous manner.
Either way, there's no ignoring the fact that baseball will be held in the backdrop of a global pandemic. Fauci is the face of the battle against COVID-19 in America. He's the natural choice and, circumstances aside, will do his best to enjoy this experience. He'll become the first, and probably the last, person to throw a first pitch for a game in an entirely empty stadium, devoid of all except those who will be on the field. It will be eerie, but it means baseball is back, for better or for worse.